Researchers at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) may have found a way to stop the often-rapid spread of deadly brain tumors.
A gene with the playful-sounding name NHERF-1 may be a serious target for drugs that could prevent malignant tumors from rapidly multiplying and invading other parts of the brain, according to a cover story in this month's edition of Neoplasia, an international journal of cancer research.
Cancer cell movement and rapid division are key characteristics of malignant brain tumors known as glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM.
Dr. Michael Berens, Director of TGen's Cancer and Cell Biology Division, said the recent findings are a major step toward devising a treatment for GBM, which because of its ability to rapidly grow within the brain often means patients have little time to survive.
"Controlling the actions of tumor cells by regulating NHERF-1 implicates it as a possible therapeutic target for treating brain cancer," said Dr. Kerri Kislin, a scientist in TGen's Cancer and Cell Biology Division.
"Our findings suggest a novel mechanism defining NHERF-1 as a 'molecular switch' that regulates the GBM tumor cell's ability to migrate or divide,'' said Dr. Kislin, the scientific paper's lead author.
Dr. Berens, the paper's senior author, said the advances made by TGen not only confirm NHERF-1 as a gene associated with brain tumors, but also pinpoint it as a possible cause for their rapid growth and spread of GBM.
"Dr. Kislin's work has meant a fast maturation of NHERF-1 from a candidate gene associated with glioma invasion to positioning it as having a verified role in contributing to the malignant behavior of the disease," Dr. Berens said.
TGen scientists are scheduled to present their findings at the 100th annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, April 18-22 in Denver.
Glioblastomas are essentially incurable tumors, in part, because there is no way to remove them surgically and ensure that all of the invading tumor cells are gone, even when surgery is followed by radiation treatments and conventional anti-cancer drugs.
"A chemotherapeutic treatment which targets these migrating cells would therefore have significant ramifications on patient survival," said Dr. Jennifer M. Eschbacher, a Neuropathology Fellow at Barrow Neurological Institute, who examined tumors for the study.
"As a pathologist, I examined expression of NHERF-1 under the microscope in tumor sections, including both invading edges of tumor and cellular tumor cores. We found NHERF-1 to be robustly expressed by invading tumors cells, when compared to tumor cores, suggesting that this factor plays a significant role in tumor invasion,'' Dr. Eschbacher said.
In the study, depletion of NHERF-1 stopped the migration of glioma – brain cancer – cells, she said. "These results suggest that NHERF-1 plays an important role in tumor biology, and that targeted inhibition of this factor may have significant effects on patient treatment and survival.''
About Barrow Neurological Institute
Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, is internationally recognized as a leader in neurological research and patient care. Barrow treats patients with a wide range of neurological conditions, including brain and spinal tumors, cerebrovascular conditions, and neuromuscular disorders. Barrow's clinicians and researchers are devoted to providing excellent patient care and finding better ways to treat neurological disorders. For more information, visit: www.thebarrow.org/index.htm.
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix-based, non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.
Steve Yozwiak | EurekAlert!
Microscope measures muscle weakness
16.11.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Good preparation is half the digestion
16.11.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Stoffwechselforschung
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences